NBC Universal confirmed to Playbill.com on June 26 that Mientus will join the cast of the scripted musical drama series in its second season. He'll play Kyle, "a poor kid from Brooklyn with dreams of writing for Broadway." He's best friends with Jimmy, another new character, played by 2012 Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies), who, along with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, was previously reported to join the season. Jordan's character will be a regular, while Hudson will guest in a "multi-episode arc."
"Kyle" represents a new generation of musical-theatre writer reflecting reality: The under-30 songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are making their New York musical debut this summer with Dogfight at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre, and their A Christmas Story the Musical is poised for Broadway this fall. (The series' 40ish songwriting characters, who are penning a show about the life of Marilyn Monroe, are Tom and Julia, played by 2012 Tony Award winner Christian Borle and Debra Messing, respectively.)
Mientus also played Mark in a 2011 production of Rent for Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, UT, and appeared in NYMF's Crazy, Just Like Me, among other projects and concerts.
"I'm not surprised Andy has been snapped up for TV," said Pioneer artistic director Karen Azenberg, who directed Mientus in Salt Lake City, where he played Mark in Rent in 2011. "Andy's got that rare combination of fire and sincerity, he is riveting on stage. I can't wait to see him on 'Smash,' and to work with him on a future theatre project."
Shooting for the hour-long series' next chapter begins this summer in and around New York City. It will return to the NBC schedule in mid-season, in the winter. "Smash," the scripted musical drama series about the makers of a new Broadway musical, will again star Emmy Award winner Messing ("Will & Grace"), Oscar winner Anjelica Huston ("Prizzi's Honor"), Jack Davenport ("Pirates of the Caribbean" films), Borle (Legally Blonde the Musical, Peter and the Starcatcher), Katharine McPhee ("American Idol") and Megan Hilty (9 to 5: The Musical).
From Universal Television in association with DreamWorks Television, "Smash" came from an idea of executive producer and multiple Emmy and Oscar winner Spielberg ("ER," "Schindler's List"). The series' executive producers also include Joshua Safran ("Gossip Girl"), who is new to the second season; Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Oscar-winning "Chicago," "Hairspray" and Broadway's recent Promises, Promises and How to Succeed…); Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey ("United States of Tara," "The Borgias"); Tony and Grammy Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (songwriters of Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can), who pen the series' original songs; and Theresa Rebeck (Broadway's Mauritius and Seminar, "NYPD Blue").